Austin Energy is getting close to the launch of its innovative new Community Solar program. The idea is to provide clean energy access to those who traditionally haven’t had it. This includes anyone from apartment-dwellers to those that can’t afford the large, upfront costs associated with rooftop solar.
But how equitable and accessible will this new program really be? That question is being answered now, as Austin Energy develops a payment structure for Community Solar. The utility is already building a solar farm at the Kingsbery Substation in East Austin. Now Austin Energy is trying to decide how to allow customers to purchase the clean energy produced by those panels.
Options range from large, upfront purchase agreements to monthly fees on customers’ bills. To get a better idea of what the community actually wants, Austin Energy has a put out a survey soliciting opinions about all of the available options. The Sierra Club has expressed support for survey options two and six, both of which would remove traditional barriers (added fees, long-term contracts, upfront costs) to obtaining solar power. These are barriers that have to be removed if this new program is actually going to benefit and serve all Austinites. You can take the survey here>> (Please note – pop up blockers must be disabled in order to complete the survey.)